Stretching Out Your Comfort Zone
Things That Make Me Anxious
I’ve started a new therapy program with the goal of conquering my social anxiety. I’ve always been a fairly social person with a diverse spread of friends, and I am out a few times a week on average doing one thing or another. My busy social calendar tends to kick my anxiety into high gear, as I spend a lot of my time thinking:
Why did I commit to all these things? What if I’m really tired after work? What if I just don’t feel like it and have to force myself?
As if that isn’t enough, I also get anxious about some of the things that accompany going out, and as everyone’s journey is different I thought I’d share some of the biggest things I worry about:
What to Wear.
I agonize over what will be the “right” thing to wear to fit in, even going to the grocery store. I don’t want to be hot, cold, too formal, too casual, uncomfy, or stared at. Coupled with my weight loss journey (it’s a great thing, but nothing fits the same any more and I’m in that awkward in-between phase of clothing sizes) this means I tip the contents of my wardrobe all over my bed at least twice a week. I greatly look forward to the day where I’ll be able to comfortably fit everything I own, and my goal is to have a wardrobe of things that I can just throw on, look awesome in, and go.
I get lost easily, and I am completely fine with this when I’m not on a time deadline to meet someone. I greatly enjoy looking at interesting houses, getting garden ideas, exploring new suburbs, and driving around singing along to music. New places and being on time make me anxious, so I spend time researching where I’m going, being aware of the closest three or four carparks to my destination so that if one is full I have a contingency plan. I never trust my GPS’s time estimates, nor Googles, but I’ll always check both just to be sure. I allow an extra 20 minutes to get anywhere, and have got getting out the door in an extremely short time frame down to an art. I also always have spare clothes in the car if I’m particularly disorganized (see point one).
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent plenty of time over the years at raves, gigs, and immersed in local music events. However, as time has gone on, my fear of waking up deaf has me panicking about loud, grating noises pretty much everywhere I go. Thankfully, at gigs and events that are designed to be loud I can wear earplugs and still enjoy myself, but places like restaurants and bars with music that you have to shout to have a conversation over just aren’t for me anymore. Equally thankfully, most of my friends know that and some are the same, so suggesting a restaurant change isn’t frowned upon any more.
Taking too long to make them, that is. Depending on who I’m with and where I’m out, choosing what to eat can take a looong time. If I’ve been there before, great! I know their portion sizes and have at least one thing I know I’m willing to eat, so the pressure is off. If I haven’t been there, the menu is usually about six pages long and I’m going to blindly hope that my fellow table-mates will take their time so I can madly compile a shortlist in my head. Same goes for drinks. Even worse is when everyone finally orders, the menus are taken away, and then the waitress comes back to let me know they’ve run out of what I’ve ordered, making me re-choose in about 16 seconds. Thank god for foodie friends.
Not Looking Stupid
The last one on this list is pretty general. As an example, I signed up to be a volunteer usher a few months ago for some theatre events. I’d never been an usher before, but thankfully have seen enough of them over the years that I had a good idea of what the job entails. Everyone I was volunteering for was lovely, and the job ended up being a piece of cake. I deal with drunk, sick, and confused people in my day job, so have enough skills equipped to be able to deal with conflict or drama if it arises, which was able to put my mind mostly at ease. Thankfully my shift was uneventful, but I spent a lot of time making sure I didn’t accidentally strangle myself with my headset or trip down the stairs just to be sure.
I picked the most common of the things that cause me angst, and as time goes on will share the strategies I learn to combat them.
I’d love to know what kinds of things make you anxious, if you’re willing to share. ❤